Guidance

European Works Council Directive

The European Work Council Directive establishes a European legal procedure for the establishment of European Works Councils (EWCs).

Employees of large multinational companies based in the UK and with a presence elsewhere in Europe have a right to ask for a European Works Council (EWC) to be set up. An EWC is a body that represents employees of the multinational in the European Economic Area (EEA) in discussions with management on transnational issues.

Background

The right to be represented by an EWC was first introduced by the European Works Council Directive in 1994. This was extended to cover the UK in 1997 and was implemented in the UK through The Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 1999.

A new EWC Directive was agreed in May 2009, which retained the structure and overall approach of the earlier Directive whilst introducing some important changes. The government undertook a public consultation on the Directive in autumn 2008 before it was finalised.

Following a further public consultation in the winter of 2009/10, the government has introduced the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (Amendment) Regulations 2010 to implement the new Directive.

The new regulations were finalised and signed on 30 March 2010 and a link to the regulations will appear here as soon as they are published on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website. Those parts of these regulations which implement the Directive come into force on 5 June 2011.

The new regulations have been introduced more than a year before they commence in order to give all parties an opportunity to examine them in detail before they come into effect and to inform decisions which parties may wish to take in the interim.

The 2010 Regulations operate by amending the original 1999 Regulations. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published guidance explaining these regulations:

The Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (Amendment) Regulations 2010 - guidance (PDF, 157 Kb)

The government has published responses to both public consultations and a final Impact Assessment of the 2010 Regulations.

We have also published:

  • a consultation on the UK experience of European works councils: summary and DTI response
  • a consultation on the Proposal to Amend the European Works Council Directive
  • a recast of the European Works Council Directive: government response to public consultation
  • a recast of the European Works Council Directive: impact assessment
  • an implementation of the Recast European Works Council Directive: draft regulations - government response to the public consultation
  • an impact assessment: implementation of the Recast European Works Council Directive
Published 12 December 2012